Trevor Eyston Watler was born on 2 Sept. 1936 in Gun Bay, close to the home he built and still lives in to this day. A family man, he was married to his schooldays sweetheart Vernicia née McLaughlin, his wife and soulmate for 55 years, raising four children together.
At 18 years old, Mr. Watler joined National Bulk Carriers and retired from an eventful life at sea after 28 years. Undaunted by the less than ideal studying conditions while a seaman, he studied every opportunity he got: sitting the Second Assistant exam in Cape Town, the First Assistant exam in Kingston and the Chief exam in Mobile, Alabama, all while his ship was in dry dock. This singlemindedness (passing each exam at first sitting) meant that he valued getting an education and the sacrifices acquiring such knowledge takes. Such drive later led to him playing a pivotal role in helping youngsters reach their own career goals.
On returning home to Vernicia and the children, after his final voyage, he worked in Her Majesty’s Customs Department (now Customs and Border Control). His 14 years there saw him advance from the post of Senior Officer before retiring from the civil service as Assistant Collector of Customs in 1999.
An advocate of education, he is passionate about encouraging young people to achieve their dreams. To this end, he has assisted several of them reach their educational and career goals by either acting as guarantor for student loans or by allowing them to use one of more parcels of his land as collateral.
Mr. Watler answered the call to serve his Lord when he was 10 years old. That turning point eventually led to him become an Elder at Gun Bay United Church for more than 35 years. A key part of his life, he tithes and over the years has donated produce and plants for the church’s annual garden party to raise funds for its outreach programmes. Mr. Watler also helped organise community and church events.
The East End resident has been a member of the Lions Club of Grand Cayman for over three decades. This dedication, so much a hallmark of Mr. Watler, earned him lifetime membership of the service group. It is through the Lions that he also became actively involved with several programmes, which helped the wider population. Chief among the initiatives he worked with are sight screening, for which he collected funds for the needy, and the geriatrics programme, which included delivering gifts to older persons on Christmas morning. Mr. Watler has also made monetary donations to the club to aid their programmes, and recently gifted an air conditioning unit for installation into an older person’s home by the Lions.
While not quite as active as he used to be, he is still an enthusiastic member of the East End Seniors Fellowship, which he has been involved in from its inception. He not only assists club members with transportation, he has also often visited seniors over the years.
Mr. Watler celebrated his 84th birthday last month with his surviving children and grandchildren.